TWO days of fun-filled activities saw schoolgirls from across west Wales get to grips with new technologies, engineering challenges and science experiments.

The event was arranged as part of an initiative to get more young women interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The Aspire2Be: Future STEM Leaders initiative aims to improve the gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated industries.

35 female Year 8 students from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire took part across two days (3 and 4 October), with a chance to learn about engineering careers and try their hand at a few of the activities they could pursue through STEM.

At Coleg Sir Gâr’s Graig Campus in Llanelli, students were treated to an exhibition of different technologies, including 3D printing, drones, virtual reality headsets and more, before taking part in hands-on pipeline construction challenge with ECITB and Valero personnel.

On the second day the group were given a tour of Valero’s Pembroke Refinery as well as taking part in a robotics challenge and interactive chemistry and physics experiments with Valero’s female operators and engineers.

Valero Public Affairs Manager, Stephen Thornton, said: “Like other industries, the downstream oil sector needs to improve on the number of women as part of our workforce, and that starts by making sure young women are aware as early as possible of the opportunities available from a career in STEM.

“We hope that the girls taking part in this year’s initiative will be inspired to join the next generation of engineers, and truly aspire to be future STEM leaders.”